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In normal times, Diana Moreno helped immigrant workers secure work and get paid.

Moreno and the New York City nonprofit¬†New Immigrant Community Empowerment, or NICE, whose Workers Rights Program she directs, advocate on behalf of jornaleros, Latino immigrant day laborers who work for contractors. The center¬†acts as a liaison, ensuring that contractors don’t withhold wages and that laborers are paid adequately.

That was before COVID-19 upended life in the heavily immigrant neighborhood of Jackson Heights, Queens, where NICE is based. Now, with no jobs to be had, Moreno’s focus has shifted: She’s simply helping immigrant families get access to food.

Across the country, advocates like Moreno are working to provide basic necessities to immigrant families, especially those without legal status who lack a safety net and are too worried or threatened to seek medical treatment or help.

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